Word recently got out that "Japan's Beethoven"—famed classical composer Mamoru Samuragochi—hadn't been writing his own music and might not actually be deaf. Now, Samuragochi is lending some credence to the claims of music professor Takashi Niigaki, the real composer behind his works. "The truth is that recently I have begun to hear a little again," Samuragochi says in an eight-page statement picked up by Reuters and CNN. "I am deeply ashamed of living a life of lies." Over the past three years, he says, he has been able to pick up on pieces of conversations "when someone speaks clearly and slowly close to my ears, though it sounds muffled and skewed."
When news of the ghostwriter emerged, Samuragochi adds, he was too frightened to acknowledge a change in his hearing. "I was thinking only of what would happen after news broke about Mr. Niigaki writing my music, and was unable to tell the truth due to fear." Now he's planning a public apology and says he's willing to have his hearing tested; he'll give up his official disability certificate if he doesn't qualify for it, CNN reports. In his letter, he apologizes specifically to the tsunami victims inspired by one of his supposed works. It also apologizes to Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, who will be using a Samuragochi piece in the Olympics tomorrow—though Samuragochi's name won't be in the program, Japanese officials say.